With Love Ablazin’

My what a magnificent word!
I grew up believing in its regality and
by God continue to believe it still
for (contrary to popular opinion)
such is one who sets his face as flint
toward the yawing day and rides in
with love ablazin’ unable to keep from
squandering second chances upon both
the comely and the plain because
the mercies keep falling through
the holes in his fool hands and side
(and because he himself has been
so squandered upon).
Its a deathy way to live, that’s for sure,
but with every dying the valiant founder’s
magic grows and one day, yes one day,
the spell will reach its climaxation
and we will wake to as it was in the beginning
and death, yes death will bloom no more. 
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Those Among Us

I caught him reading Ephesians,
in particular the verse that instructs all creatures
The him I caught reading was my beagle,
the very beagle I’d been harsh with earlier
because he had simply followed his heart.
I’d gone to bed cold with regret for my sin
only to wake finding him chewing the Words.
On seeing me his tail beat the new day’s air with
what I can only describe as a tender kindness.
It was then I realized pardon comes not natural
for any who breathe on the plain but there are
those among us who practice it more perfectly.
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But Until Then

One of these days I guess the jig will be up
once and for all then its up up and away.
But until then my heart will go on singing
down down and here, here where angels
dress up daily as geese and foul football fields,
here where every Friday the evening news
picks a PERSON OF THE WEEK, here where
if you’re really a rebel you hold your eyes just so,
blinded by the innocence of this old world.
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Terror and the beauty insoluble.
As in the way the freshly cut apple smell
spells the air just as your father sends
the text that tells of his good friend
who killed himself this morning after
years of the awful cancer.
You take of the apple and taste God’s fancy
just as your father’s postscript arrives:
I can understand it.
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After The Peak

I used to fret that I’ve passed the peak of my powers.
You know, like the Times talks about a novelist
“writing at the peak of her powers.” But that’s usually
the perspective of someone else, not the novelist.
Plus the peak is sometimes too much, like the autumn
leaves too gold, too red, almost unbelievable.
There are the colors that follow, fading shades less
brilliant but more courageous, more earthish.
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At First

God forbid, but if it were ever
to happen they predicted some
virulent outbreak, some
brutal interruption of their lives, some
threshold beyond which
everything was AFTER.
But that’s not how their
marriage found itself dystopic.
It came about hardly noticed,
the way nails grow, as
he would say I LOVE YOU and she
would turn to him and just say YES.
He thought it sweet at first, an
abbreviation of their aging comfortableness
with one another.
In some ways so did she, at first.
Or so she hoped.
Such are the sins of omission.
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A Tale of Juarez

Exactly why we bought the marble chess
set in Juarez I cannot say. I only remember
my father and mother carrying the heavy board
and paper bag of pieces through crowded streets
firecracker hot with the smell of mammon.
The set sat on our coffee table for years.
We learned the basics of the game but never moved
with much skill. We were more checker people.
But the heavy board and pieces served as icons
in the tale of the time the baptist preacher and his wife
jewed a man down one day in a reeky border town.
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